The Rogue Voice


November 01, 2006

Editor's rant

Real Republicans know that contempt for diplomacy and fiscal responsibility only make bad situations worse. They don’t like government intrusions, invasions of their privacy, and they don’t like their representatives pissing money down the drain.

Why do the terrorists hate us? Because the United States has lost its moorings, committed to its own forms of terror, gutting laws that protect human freedoms, while sending its children to war under the false claim that they’re protecting democracy.

Pick your fights wisely
Or you’ll surely lose your vision

By Stacey Warde

Finally, it looks as though Republicans are coming to their senses. They’ve opened their eyes and awakened to the brutally short-sighted foreign policies pursued by the ever- and always intransigent Bush administration, an attitude that has made the United States more enemies than friends.
Real Republicans know that contempt for diplomacy and fiscal responsibility only make bad situations worse. They don’t like government intrusions, invasions of their privacy, and they don’t like their representatives pissing money down the drain.
They’ve come to appreciate the reality that the war in Iraq has been a huge failure from the start, a tremendous waste of limited resources, a bad policy turned into a nightmare that will haunt Americans for as long as Vietnam has haunted us. Didn’t we learn our lesson then?
Now, following the electorate’s long-overdue shift away from government overreach and fiscally disastrous aims like tax breaks during a war, we can begin the long and painful process of extricating ourselves from the Iraqi quagmire. If we don’t extricate ourselves soon, it will become the Iran-Syria-Iraqi-al Queda-Middle East quagmire, featuring additional intransigent nations like Israel and their tribal enemies in Palestine and Lebanon. If we don’t end it soon, we’ll be party to many tribal wars across the globe—as well as victims of violence and terrorism at home.
And for what purpose? For the fight against terrorism? For the spread of democracy?
Why do the terrorists hate us? Because the United States has lost its moorings, committed to its own forms of terror, gutting laws that protect human freedoms, while sending its children to war under the false claim that they’re protecting democracy.
The best way to fight terrorism and spread democracy may be to bring our troops home and put our own house in order. The United States needs a thorough house cleaning. We need the manpower and precious resources here at home, not wasted in a war of our making in Iraq. It’s time we swept our own house clean before attempting any more campaigns to clean other people’s houses. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
With education, healthcare and an infrastructure in shambles, it’s time to do some repair work on our own democracy at home. It’s time for more sensible and humane conservative values like teaching our children how to read, like making sure our nation’s citizens have access to adequate medical care, like securing and upgrading interstate transport and commerce, and protecting our civil liberties from further damage—and real Republicans know this better than anyone.
The Republican Revolt against neocon intransigence has been widely reported in the weeks leading up to this month’s elections. And it even visited us here at The Rogue Voice with a letter from “Rogue Republicans” James and Beverly Maul of Morro Bay [page 3].
Their letter to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger makes an appeal on Tito David Valdez Jr.’s behalf, requesting the possibility of clemency, but also points out that, as Republicans, they know the stakes in issues such as protecting a citizen’s privacy, wise federal spending, the environment and developing alternative energies—issues in which the current administration in Washington, D.C., with its cynical and myopic view of the world, has failed miserably.
Real Republicans like James and Beverly have begun to entertain the idea of independent energy sources that will allow the United States to continue to prosper and disengage from foreign entanglements that put Americans in harm’s way, and serve no other useful purpose than to turn the U.S. into the world’s most despised superpower.
Real Republicans know the true value of precious native resources like clean air and water, and understand the imperative of developing technology for renewable energies here at home. They also know that belligerence and pre-emptive violence are counterproductive foreign policy strategies, only begetting more belligerence and violence in our enemies.
Real Republicans know that justice means apprehending and punishing the actual perpetrators of Sept. 11, not some pretended threat to American security like the hapless Saddam Hussein.
Nonetheless, it may be too late for sensible and traditional Republicans to right their ship before the Democrats take control of the Senate and House on Capitol Hill. [For additional observations about life in our nation’s capital, check out “Hooligans on the Hill,” recounting last month’s visit to the District of Columbia, page 5.]
Meanwhile, watch for Democrats to take the lead on these issues in the months ahead as the next presidential election approaches. Republicans will attempt to usurp the “environment” and “healthcare” as policy concerns, but will end up looking as foolish as the Democrats do when they try to imitate Republicans on foreign policy, religion and traditional family values.

As for choosing our battles wisely, no one could have been more hapless than the Valley dude who got into a fight with Butch, the subject of this month’s lead story, “Pismo surf fight,” a piece of fiction written by Darren Delmore of San Luis Obispo, on page 14.
Darren’s macabre story unfolds like a scene from Quentin Tarantino’s 1992 film noir, “Reservoir Dogs,” where the viewer says to herself, “No, he’s not really going to do that; he’s not really going to cut that guy’s ear off and pour gasoline on him and light a match. He’s not really going to do that, is he…?”
If anything, this story reminds us it’s better to stay out of some people’s way than to find a reason to argue with them. The moral in all of this, of course, is to choose your fights wisely or you could lose your vision.

I received a call from a reader correcting me on the use of the word “homeless” to describe the late Sharon Ostman [“A homeless woman’s gift,” October 2006] and others who live on the street.
“I’m a leftist-liberal-socialist-artist,” he started, adding that he’s a big fan of The Rogue Voice. “I like your guys’s propaganda machine a lot.”
Then, he launched into his own propaganda by describing how “the mother earth is the human home.”
In other words, if you live on the street, count yourself blessed because mother earth will provide for you—that’s how it’s always been and will always be. We come from the earth and we’ll go back to it.
So, let’s not get sucked into the “capitalist psychosis agenda” that makes us think that without a home we’re less than human. No one is homeless. That’s undignified and demeaning.
Amen, brother, and no one can say it any better than our own Ben Leroux, who spends his days on the road, living out of a car, washing windows, eating chili, and watching Texas high school football games, page 9.
This month, Ben learns it’s better to leave town than to stay in the radar of local law enforcement. Being watched by hick cops, besides giving one the creeps, might also be undignified and demeaning.

Another undignified American tradition is the way we warehouse prisoners, and expect them to rehabilitate themselves. This month, Tito explores how one man has resigned himself to spending the rest of his life in prison, see “Institutionalized” on page 6.
With the right attitude, prison life could be a whole lot more like the dignified life of a country club, with free meals, green lawns, exercise equipment and a choice of vocational training programs to further one’s advancement.
It’s not how Tito wants to live; he’d rather advance his career beyond the walls of prison, but at least now he can put things in their proper perspective as he works on becoming a contributing member of society.

Nothing puts an end to careers as quickly and effectively, however, as alcohol, which can turn law-abiding citizens into criminals and killers with the mere twist of an ignition key. No premeditation necessary, just drink and drive.
Dr. Steven Sainsbury, an emergency physician who’s witnessed more than his share of misery caused by alcoholics and drunk drivers, finds no humor in drunkenness. He explains why in his commentary, “Hilarious drunks?” on page 4.

I’m all for God blessing me and anyone else in this world who needs a lift from life’s pain and misery. But I have trouble with people who think that God only blesses America.
I cringe whenever a car passes me on the road with the bumper sticker, “God bless America.” I know it’s supposed to make me feel good, and mindful of the blessings we’ve received as a nation. I know that’s it supposed to serve as a reminder that I ought to pray for our leaders and people.
And I do pray—for everyone.
The feelings I get from this bumper sticker, however, don’t inspire me to pray at all. Instead, they range from mild contempt to utter disgust. Implicit in the bumper sticker, “God bless America,” is the uncharitable and malignant: “The rest of the world can go fuck itself.”
God only blesses the nation that loves war and bloodshed is what that bumper sticker says to me.
A more charitable and Christian bumper sticker might say, “God bless us all,” or “Pray for us all.” But that might be too much for today’s Christians, who appear to have forgotten how to pray for their enemies.
Another bump sticker—while we’re on the subject—that rattles my nerves is the ubiquitous, “United We Stand.”
What I want to know is, united over what? Not George W. Bush, not invasions of our privacy, not the elimination of constitutionally protected freedoms in pursuit of security, not the war in Iraq.
If you want to unite people, why not choose peace and freedom? Enough of this eye-for-an-eye stuff. §

Stacey Warde can be reached at


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